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Circuit training is a form of training that involves moving through a series of exercises. It can encompass strength training, endurance exercises, or a mixture of the two performed back-to-back with little or no rest. A full circuit is complete once you’ve finished all the prescribed exercises in the program, and you can do as many rounds of said circuit as you wish.

You won’t be bored when you do circuit training. This workout gets your heart rate up and strengthens your muscles at the same time.

A typical circuit training workout may include five to ten exercises, but it’s entirely customizable to the individual. Want to focus solely on strength-building dumbbells or bodyweight moves? Great. Want to do cardio conditioning instead? Go for it. Circuits can be created and adapted to cover a variety of disciplines and muscle groups.

The benefits of circuit training

The benefits of circuit training are similar to high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This is because most circuits do and should incorporate high-intensity exercises either focused on endurance training or resistance training. That means your heart rate will be raised and stay raised for longer than it is with steady-state cardio.

The customizable nature of circuits makes them very versatile. You can do as many reps or as much time as you choose and then repeat your circuit as many times as you want, the workout is entirely up to you. And with minimal rest time, you can really knock out a lot in a short period.

Starting circuit training is easy. All circuit training requires is a handful of exercises strewn together to make circuits. Here are some things you should consider when you create your circuit training routine.

Vary your exercises.

Before you get started, you need to know which exercises you want to do. Circuits can include as many or as few exercises as you’d like, but five to ten is a good goal. No matter how many exercises your circuits include, prioritize a variety of disciplines.

Decide your work/rest timing.

Rest days are important and so are rest breaks during circuit training. Let’s say you’re doing a circuit composed of eight exercises. Between each is an opportunity to either rest or move right into the next one. One simple trick that you can do to maximize a workout is to alternate between muscle groups, such as upper-body work and lower-body work. That way, you’re able to rest one muscle group while targeting the other.

Determine the number of rounds.

This part is easy. Do you do one round, three, six? There is no wrong answer here, but the number of rounds you choose will impact your energy expenditure and the total amount of time spent exercising.

Circuit training is a highly adaptable exercise format so it’s suitable for all levels. You can use weights or not and perform circuits just about anywhere.

If you’re looking for a full-body workout in 30 minutes or less, circuit training does the trick. You get the benefits of muscle building and toning along with an intense cardio workout.

If you get bored trotting along on a treadmill or elliptical, circuit training can fix that, too. The exercise options are endless. Switch up the exercises frequently to tame the exercise doldrums and keep improving your body.

Work at your own pace. Start with a trainer one-on-one or in a small group setting to make sure you’re doing the exercises correctly and working within your limits.


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